About Us

Conter (n. the contrary, vt. to oppose, to thwart).

Conter provides anti-establishment news and analysis in Scotland. Parties of the centre-left have ruled Holyrood for two decades. Devolution has brought elements of progress, and few would wish to roll back these achievements. But this cannot disguise how little Scotland’s working class has gained, whether materially or in terms of political agency, from decades of supposed progressive government.

Despite the appearance of constitutional conflict, scratch the surface and our Parliament is composed of five homogenous parties composed of liberal professional politicians. For all the talk of social democracy, Scotland is a post-neoliberal social order, and the beneficiaries of this have little to fear from the Scottish parliament. For all the talk of climate emergencies, drug death and alienation; public services are in disarray; and insofar as the Scottish establishment has a collective vision for life after Westminster, it is founded on the retro neoliberal fantasies of Charlotte Street Partners.

The decay in parliament reflects a deeper crisis in public life. The media is a prime example. Again, look beyond constitutional conflict and there’s a homogeneity driven by a mixture of billionaire ownership and the devolved state’s patronage network.

For those seeking reassurance, there’s plenty of journalists to tell you that Holyrood is doing better than Westminster. Cheerleaders for devolution crisscross the Scottish media and have infiltrated much of England’s progressive press. And these people should have their place. The British state and its political representatives are crooked and backward. Unionist biases should be challenged; it’s better that some of the media hold Westminster to account than not at all.

Conter exists, however, because offering left cover to the Scottish Government just reinforces the old feedback loop. The appearance of conflict with Westminster disguises the reproduction of Scotland’s class system, with all the violence this entails. In these circumstances, somebody must be willing to break the mold. We need oppositional media, willing to hold Holyrood to account, without apologising for an even more deficient ruling caste at Westminster.

Philosophically, Conter supports Scottish independence as a starting point for debating sovereignty, the state and the crisis of capitalist globalisation. We do so from an internationalist perspective, based on the interlocking fates of Scotland and other nations: not just England and Wales, but also Catalonia, Ireland and Iraq. We try to connect Scotland’s struggle for sovereignty and self-determination to working class causes worldwide. In that spirit, we aim to bring Scotland the best analysis from likeminded voices across the globe.

Conter is not just morally opposed to poverty. We also actively campaign for working class representation, agency, and power, even if the consequences offend liberal sensibilities. We support freedom of thought and believe in the duty to critique established notions in academia and journalism. We believe that ideas are shaped by social class, and our aim is to redevelop a working-class intellectual spirit that cuts through liberal pieties.

Conter doesn’t take money from millionaires or the Scottish Government. That’s not because we’re morally pure or better than others; it’s because we serve a different master. Our goal is a sovereign Scotland where the working-class stands on its own feet, economically, politically, and intellectually. If you back that goal, and believe that organisation starts from an intellectual spine, then we hope you will consider getting involved.

Too many worthy projects perish for want of ruthlessness. If you’re sick of political discourse in Scotland, do what working class people have done throughout history. Volunteer your time, and use your meagre income to support freedom of thought. Because the Scottish establishment, kind and gentle though it might be, doesn’t have your back in a fight. Conter does, and Conter will. Tradition isn’t always a dirty word, and working-class intellectual independence is a tradition worth preserving.